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Social Distance and Control Aversion: Evidence from the Internet and the Laboratory

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  • Katrin Schmelz
  • Anthony Ziegelmeyer

Abstract

We test experimentally whether monitoring is less likely to reduce work motivation in distant than in close principal-agent relationships. Employing the same standard subject pool of students, we compare a laboratory and an internet implementation of an experimental principal-agent game where the principal can impose control at two different levels on the agent. Agency relationships are arguably more distant in the internet than in the laboratory setting. We find that differences in agents' effort due to an increase in the level of control are larger in the internet than in the laboratory experiment. The effect is driven by both higher intrinsic motivation and stronger control aversion in the laboratory. Agents' effort differences are fairly stable over time in both experiments which indicates that even experienced agents react more negatively to the implementation of control in the laboratory than on the internet.

Suggested Citation

  • Katrin Schmelz & Anthony Ziegelmeyer, 2015. "Social Distance and Control Aversion: Evidence from the Internet and the Laboratory," TWI Research Paper Series 100, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
  • Handle: RePEc:twi:respas:0100
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:kap:expeco:v:21:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10683-017-9527-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Antonio A. Arechar & Simon Gaechter & Lucas Molleman, 2017. "Conducting interactive experiments online," Discussion Papers 2017-02, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    3. Hans-Theo Normann & Till Requate & Israel Waichman, 2014. "Do short-term laboratory experiments provide valid descriptions of long-term economic interactions? A study of Cournot markets," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(3), pages 371-390, September.

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    Keywords

    Control; Crowding effects of control; Internet; Motivation; Social distance; Workplace arrangements;

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